If that’s how the Chicago Bears’ season was going to end in New Orleans, that’s what it was supposed to look like.
Leave no stone left unturned. And leave no doubt about the changes that need to be made *across the board.* From players, to coaches, to upper management and executives, Sunday’s 21-9 loss to the Saints was a cold reminder of how far the Bears need to go before they get to where they think they can be.
Everything that plagued the Bears throughout a maddening 8-8 season was on display throughout those last 60 minutes. There was a lack of discipline on several different levels. Inexcusable penalties. A wide receiver getting ejected after engaging with a certain smack-talking Saints defense back. An offense settling for one check-down after another. A myriad of missed tackles.
And this dropped touchdown pass:
I’m in TEARS over this pic.twitter.com/z6xVwqcKeC
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) January 10, 2021
For the record, the game didn’t change on this one play. New Orleans scored touchdowns. Chicago did not (not when it mattered, anyway). That tells the story of this game.
And that’s what it comes down to for me. You can’t win if you don’t score. And you can’t score if you can’t move the ball. Any semblance of a real offense and the Bears could’ve conceivably won this game. But Chicago’s offense looked more like the stuck-in-the-mud unit we saw for most of the year and less like the group that went on a season-ending heater that allowed them to back into the playoffs in the first place.
In the end, this game represented everything the Bears were in 2020. A group that was talented, flawed, and frustrating that finished with a thud. So in a way, it’s fitting. Even if it’s a bit sad.
The last time the Bears lost a playoff game, there was a sense of hope that this was just their first spin at the wheel. Matt Nagy was a first-year head coach months away from being named the league’s Coach of the Year. Mitchell Trubisky was a second-year quarterback about to be named a Pro Bowl alternate. Ryan Pace was months away from his peers naming him the NFL’s Executive of the Year. But this one feels different.
How different? It all depends on the changes that may or may not be on the horizon.